common cockney slang words

10 Cockney Rhyming Slang Words To Sound Like A Local

Cockney slang words can be tricky to get the hang of. Sure, it’s technically English, but it can sound like a different language. Wandering around London listening to some of the lingo can be confusing, especially if English isn’t your native language.

Cockney slang is so much more than just an accent. It’s the replacement of a normal word with one that rhymes and often has a special meaning, and dates back from around 1840 when locals wanted to speak without outsiders understanding.

Sometimes the word doesn’t even rhyme, making it extra tricky! Other words come from fictional characters, such as Donald Duck (which in Cockney slang means “luck”).

Do you know your ‘apples and pears’ apart from your ‘bees and honey’? Here’s a list of 10 commonly used slang words in the East End. You’ll be speaking like a local in no time.

10 Common Cockney Slang Words

1. “Apples and pears” = Stairs

This phrase comes from the idea that fruit at market stalls is arranged in steps.

2. “Bees and Honey” = Money

Honeys comes from hard work, as does money!

3. “Box of Toys” = Noise

This is self-explanatory. Who hasn’t been woken up by noisy children’s toys?

4. “Dustbin Lid/s” – Kid/s

Kids are super messy,  so this phrase is said when children have made a huge mess.

5. “Lump of Ice” = Advice

Good advice can sometimes be a shock to the system…

6. “On the Floor” = Poor

Used from times of down-on-their-luck housewives looking for cleaning work.

7. “Pleasure and Pain” = Rain

A pleasure for gardeners and farmers, but pain for anyone suffering from rheumatism.

8. “Porky Pies” = Lies

This term comes from the humble British pork pie.

common cockney slang words

9. “Scotch Mist” = Pissed

This reference to getting drunk off Scotch whiskey is pretty easy to understand!

common cockney slang words

10. “Satin and Silk” = Milk

common cockney slang words

Check out more general British slang words here, and useful Scottish slang words here.

Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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